Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 16, 1978 when the first Mass was held at St. Monica Church, Northford.
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Allen R. Hunt

When each of our two daughters was baptized, our dear friends gave us a framed picture of Jesus, smiling and holding small children. Anita and I hung those pictures, one in each of our girl’s bedrooms, right over their beds.

Tough times will arrive for every person, every family. And when those challenges come, only your faith will carry you.

I walked into the church that Tuesday with a heart heavy and a sad spirit. We had lost dear little Anna, a fellow parishioner, barely 9 years old, who died after nine difficult months suffering with leukemia. As we grieved that morning, we prayed, we sang, we shared Scripture and we shared the Eucharist, the meal of life.Then her grandfather made his way to the microphone. He wanted to share little Anna’s favorite Bible story with us.

He noted how the family always found it odd that Anna never let anyone read this story to her. She always insisted on reading it aloud herself, even though she was just 9.

Once he told them to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift he would send them. That gift would be the Holy Spirit. He would live in them and guide them. He would be a Comforter to them. Jesus wanted them to tell everyone on earth that he had died for them. He told them to teach and to baptize those who believed. After Jesus said this, he was taken up to heaven right in front of their eyes. A cloud hid him from their sight and two angels, who looked like men dressed in white, came and stood beside them.

The angels said, “Why are you looking up in the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up into heaven will come back some day in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”We also believe that he will come again."

As Anna’s grandfather finished reading this story, his eyes welled with tears. He told us that each time Anna had read this passage to him, when she was finished, her eyes looked directly at him. At first, she looked with questioning eyes. Her eyes then turned into knowing eyes.She knew. Little Anna knew. She really, really knew. 

As her grandfather shared this experience with us, at that moment, the air in the church was so thick I could barely see. I could not move. Frankly, I was transfixed. At that moment, all around me was a cloud; the place was filled with the glory of God.A little 9-year-old girl, speaking through her grandfather, had reminded me. In fact, Anna had reminded all of us. Jesus will live in us and comfort us. And he will indeed come again. 

Little Anna taught us powerfully. In life’s toughest moments, our faith will make all the difference. God alone will see us through.And every family needs to know that.